Genesis Chapter Three, The End Of Innocence

In our study of Genesis chapter three, we look at the end of innocence and the origin of sin. Innocence is the ignorance of the existence of evil and we shall see the effects on all of creation when this is lost. This study contains the biblical account of the separation of man from the presence of God.

Genesis 3:1

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, 'Did God really say, "You must not eat from any tree in the garden"?'

We see that Satan was able to use a snake to talk to the woman and introduce temptation. As we shall see, the serpent was not like the snakes of today as it must have had legs. The devil twisted the words of God and used this method to introduce the temptation to doubt the very words of God. This is the same method that was used to tempt Jesus (see Matthew 4) and it is the same technique that is used on us today. (That is why growing in faith and knowledge which is the second purpose of this website is so important.)

Genesis 3:2 & 3

The woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, "You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die."'

We see from this passage the danger in ignorance of the Word of God. When confronted with this temptation, the woman added to the words that God had spoken to Adam. God had told them not to eat the fruit but He did not tell them that they could not touch it. Whether the woman added this on her own or she was wrongly taught by Adam, we do not know. The devil knew where to attack and tempted the woman because she had not directly heard the words of God.

Genesis 3:4 & 5

'You will not surely die,' the serpent said to the woman. 'For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'

The devil used the ignorance of God's word to cast doubt on its truth. We see his method in doing this is to use half-truths which, in fact, are nothing but disguised lies. Satan makes the woman focus on the one thing that God said they could not have instead of the vast amount of things that were freely given to them in the garden. God's motive is questioned as the devil makes it seem like God was trying to keep something good from the woman instead of keeping something that would not be good for them away. Many, today, have tried to make it seem like this was some grand test designed by God and that He was just waiting for man to fail but that is not so. In giving Adam and Eve this simple rule, He was trying to keep them from the burden of struggling with evil. Satan uses the same methods to attack us in that, he tries to get us to worry about what we don't have instead of praising and thanking God for what we do have.

Genesis 3:6

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

We often think of Eve going behind Adam's back and eating the fruit and tricking him into eating some. Here, we see that Adam was with her when she ate and wonder why he did not even try to stop her. This origination of sin has often been laid at the feet of Eve, but, Adam could have stopped her.

Genesis 3:7

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked. Instead of stopping to see how ridiculous this was, they chose to make coverings for themselves out of fig leaves. Throughout the Bible, we will see that figs and fig trees are a symbol of safety and security.

Genesis 3:8

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

Then, they heard God and decided to hide from Him. You see, they knew that they did not belong in the presence of God anymore as they knew they were guilty of doing evil.

Genesis 3:9

But the Lord God called to the man, 'Where are you?'

God knows everything, so, why would He ask this question of Adam? It was so that Adam could realize what he was doing. He had gone from walking in the garden with the Creator of the universe to crouching behind a bush in a very short time.

Genesis 3:10

He answered, 'I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.'

The fruit that they had eaten opened their eyes to sin and so, with that knowledge came fear. They realized that they no longer belonged in the presence of God and so they tried to hide. The same thing happens to many people today as they try to hide from God because they do not understand His mercy and grace. Because of the fact that Jesus paid our penalty for sin with His very blood, we belong in the presence of God once again.

Genesis 3:11-13

And he said, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?' The man said, 'The woman you put here with me - she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.' Then the Lord God said to the woman, 'What is this you have done?' The woman said, 'The serpent deceived me, and I ate.

In this passage, we get to see a conversation between God, Adam, & Eve. We see that Adam & Eve's answer to why they disobeyed God was to point the finger at others. Adam points the finger at God Himself for providing the woman and the woman for causing him to sin. The woman blames the serpent instead of taking responsibility. The simple fact of the matter is that they were both presented with a choice and they both chose to disobey God. We cannot be too hard in our judgment of them because many times we do the same thing. Instead of simply admitting that we have sinned and resting in God's grace, we often will try to justify our actions and blame them on others. We also give Satan (the serpent) too much credit and power instead of relying on the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in us.

Genesis 3:14 & 15

So the Lord said to the serpent, 'Because you have done this, "Cursed are you above all of the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."'

Sin had its penalty for all that were involved. For the serpent (snake), it meant being cursed forever and evidently this snake had legs before it was sentenced to crawl on its belly. This judgment also contains the prophecy of the coming of Jesus Christ as it describes the seed of the woman crushing the head of the serpent. That was accomplished with the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ as He defeated sin, Satan (the head of the serpent), and death. We also see that Satan (the serpent) is able to strike at the feet of man and this speaks to the fact that he will try to make you stumble in your walk with the Lord. But, we can rest assured in the power of Jesus Christ to preserve us with His care.

Genesis 3:16

To the woman he said, 'I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.'

For the woman, this sin had two consequences. The first was that giving birth would be more painful and it is a reminder of the love that God had for them. A woman will go through pregnancy and the pain of childbirth because of the love for the child within her. God knew from the beginning that Adam and Eve were going to sin and yet He still loved them and created them. The second consequence was that the man would "rule" over her. Some have taken this to mean that the man has the authority to treat her like a lesser person but that is not what it is talking about. The woman made a very bad decision in listening to the serpent and so the man was given the authority and the responsibility to lead and guide her to keep her safe.

Genesis 3:17-19

To Adam he said, 'Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, "You must not eat of it," Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.'

For man, the consequence of sin was a lifetime of working for food. In the garden, Adam could just go to the tree when he got hungry and eat. Now, he would have to work the fields and provide for his own food. The ground itself was cursed and produced weeds which made the work that much harder. The good news is that, in the new heaven and earth, we will be able to go to the tree when we are hungry and eat once again through the provision of God.

Genesis 3:20

Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.

Eve means "living" and Adam gave her that name because all of mankind is descended from her (them). This is the greatest reason in the world why there should not be such a thing as racism and discrimination. We are all related in a way; So, how can we hate our relatives?

Genesis 3:21

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

God demonstrates His love for them (and us) in that He made clothes for them. He did this because He loved them so much that He did not want them to be ashamed of their bodies. To make the clothes out of skins, blood had to be shed as the animals had to die. This was a picture of the sacrifices that were to come under the Jewish Law as well as a picture of the perfect sacrifice which is Jesus Christ. We notice that God made the clothes for them instead of telling them to do so for themselves. This is a reminder that salvation does not come from our work but is a gift from God.

Genesis 3:22

And the Lord God said, 'The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.'

After the sin, God had to act to prevent man from living forever in the fallen state. He says, here, that He could not allow the fallen man to also eat from the tree of life but the reason for this is not another punishment. The reason that Adam and Eve could not be allowed to eat from the tree of life is that they would be trapped in the effects of their sin forever.

Genesis 3:23 & 24

So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

Many see this as a continuation of the punishment of God for their sin but it is not. In the previous passages, God issued the punishments but now they are sent from the garden out of love. The simple fact is that most people want to live forever and would have tried to get to the tree of life to make that happen. God, because of His love for us, sent them away from there and put a guard on duty to keep this from happening. This was necessary to keep man from living forever with the effects of sin.

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